The Sangamon Valley Collection owns a number of unique collections of materials from Springfield businesses, organizations and families. These items are stored in a secure area and must be requested. No materials in this collection are available for circulation.
Click a link below for a brief description of the collection.
Carillon Belles/Rees Carillon Bell Society
Citizens Tribune Newspaper v. John Hunter
Golden Gloves Tournament
Governor Samuel H. Shapiro Manuscript
Henry B. House
Johnston, Knox, Morgan Families
Myers Brothers Department Store
Saint Nicholas Hotel Bankruptcy
Sangamo Electric Company
Sangamon County Chapter Infantile Paralysis Foundation
Soap Box Derby
Springfield Aviation Company
Springfield Community Concert Association Collection
Springfield Municipal Opera
Springfield Nature League
Springfield Pleasure Driveway and Park District
Springfield Transportation Company
Weaver Garage and Manufacturing Company
World War II Oral History Project
The Booth/Grunendike Photograph Collection is a collection of four photo albums containing photographs circa 1900 to the 1940's relating to the family, property and travels of members of Springfield wagon-maker Amasa Stevens Booth, Sr.'s family and that of their son-in-law, Edward Howell Grunendike. It is believed that Mary E. (Booth) Grunendike was the photographer for most of the photos.
The Buckley Family Photograph Collection consists of photographs reproduced from glass negatives and gives a pictorial essay on one family's lifestyle in Springfield during the early part of the 20th century. William T. Buckley was a local florist who ran his own greenhouse and many of the photographs involve his business. In addition, the manner of dress, interior decoration and activities of that period in time are visually portrayed both in family portraiture and at varied Springfield surroundings including Washington Park and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The Carillon Belles/Rees Carillon Bell Society Collection is an integration and reorganization of documents, newspaper clippings, carillon programs, memoranda and photographs from the collection of Mrs. Violet Touch, longtime RCS Board member and founder of the Carillon Belles, a group supporting the Rees Carillon in Springfield, Illinois. The Thomas Rees Carillon was built in 1962 and named after the former Illinois State Register publisher who had bequeathed money for the carillon upon his death nearly 30 years prior.
This collection contains materials from the files of J.R. Fitzpatrick, owner of the Citizens Tribune, relating to the lawsuit the Tribune filed against the Commissioner of Public Property for the City of Springfield, John Hunter in 1950. The Citizens Tribune sought a judgment of nearly 5 thousand dollars for advertisement and other materials relating to Hunter's 1947 run for the Springfield city council, but Hunter was ultimately found innocent. The materials within this collection is comprised primarily of legal documents relating to the lawsuit, background and evidence against Mr. Hunter and other general materials relating to his years in office. Also included are related files, audio cassettes of speeches and other materials kept by Fitzpatrick on Hunter, including materials on Hunter's various campaigns for office.
The Golden Gloves Tournament Files collection contains background information, correspondence, newspaper publicity, expense records, etc., relating to the Citizens Tribune newspaper's involvement with Golden Gloves Tournaments in Springfield from 1944 through 1956.
This collection contains items from Governor Samuel Shapiro's private and public activities, including photographs of his private and public activities, correspondence from state and national political figures including Paul Simon, Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey and various certificates related to his career. Shapiro was involved in Illinois politics for most of his adult life, serving as a member of the Illinois House beginning in 1946, elected Lt. Governor in 1961 and served out the remainder of Governor Otto Kerner's term as Illinois Governor in 1968. Also included in this collection is a short 8mm film of his 1961 inauguration as Lt. Governor.
The Green family letters are a group of 23 letters written to and from members of the William Green family of Orvil Township, Logan County, Illinois between the years 1864 and 1884. These letters contain descriptions of social life and customs of Logan County, Illinois in the period at the end of and just after the civil war.
This collection consists primarily of letters written to Mildred Jean Grimm by her father, Lester R. Grimm. Lester R. Grimm lived alone in a home on Holmes Avenue in Springfield during the period of these letters, while Mildred Jean lived away from home. In his letters, Lester comments on national affairs of the day, neighbors, Litchfield, Illinois relatives, gardening and other aspects of domestic life in Springfield. This collection also includes personal items of Mildred Jean Grimm, including tax forms, business cards, addresses, and descriptions of her work experience.
The Henry B. House Collection contains letters to Henry House, an actor and director of local theater productions until his death in 1953. Amongst a myriad of artistic endeavors, Mr. House also helped found the Community Players, a group of Springfield amateur actors and the Little Theater, in which he acted and directed its productions for many years. The collection also contains photographs of actors and productions put on by those groups and by the Baker School of Drama at Yale University as well as manuscripts and scripts written by Mr. House. Also included are related items such as dance cards, concert and play programs from local and out-of-town theaters, Chatterton Opera House programs and some of House's own personal notes from his various writings on the history of theater in Springfield.
The Hutton Family Collection consists of a series of letters written by Dorothy Hutton as a young girl (1913-1924) from Auburn, Illinois to her mother in Denver, Colorado. Many of these letters describe the daily activities typical of farm and family life in rural central Illinois during the period above.
The Iles Manuscript Collection contains the original, handwritten copy of Iles' autobiography, Sketches: Early Life and Time in Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois as well as other materials relating to the genealogy of Iles and his family as donated by Mrs. Thelma Iles White Teel and her five children.
The Johnston, Knox, Morgan Families Collection represents three generations of one family: Leonora Knox Morgan, her father, James Madison Knox and her grandfather, Levi Johnston, although the majority of materials concerns Leonora K. Morgan. Her papers include documents related to her teaching career and memberships in various organizations. The remainder of the collection consists of materials regarding Levi Johnston, including correspondence with his brother and sister in the mid-1800's and his various business dealings in and around Springfield and James M. Knox, to include certificates commissioning him a Notary Public and Justice of the Peace in the area. Obituaries for many of these people are included as well.
This collection is comprised of several types of items, including correspondence (letters, memos and telegrams covering the years 1932-1955), flight school and pilot training materials, and flight log books for Mabel and C.R. Johnston. Mabel Sherman Johnston was an artist and a pilot who married Charles R. Johnston and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma with him, where he managed the Spartan School of Flying and where she rated as a flight instructor at the school and ultimately trained pilots for WWII. They later moved to Springfield in 1947, where he became manager of the then newly-opened Capital Airport. In addition to the materials listed above, this collection also contains bound volumes of aviation magazines and graduating class books from the Spartan School as well as materials from Mr. Johnston's later career as manager at Allis Chalmers.
The Howard C. Knotts collection primarily covers the period of Knotts' life from 1915 to 1921, with a few materials relating to his work in aviation law and his death in 1942. Knotts delayed his stay at Harvard Law School long enough to join the United States Aviation Corps to fight in WWI, where he shot down several German planes and eventually became a POW. Ultimately, Knotts-having earned the Distinguished Service Cross from the U.S. and the Distinguished Flying Cross from the U.K.-returned to Springfield and practiced law, even writing much civil aviation code, until his untimely death in 1942. The majority of materials in the collection focus on his military experiences in WWI and the beginning of his career in aviation law.
This collection consists of materials from LaBonte's Luggage Shop in Springfield, founded by Charles LaBonte and later owned by his son Louis. Included in this collection are a few items from the LaBonte business, trade catalogs, legal documents and income tax reports.
The items in this collection come from a scrapbook personally compiled by Mary C. Martin, a graduate of the Lincoln College of Law in Springfield, former Assistant State's Attorney of Sangamon County, and member of the Illinois Supreme Court, U.S. District Court and U.S. Supreme Court bar. Martin enlisted in the Women's Auxiliary Corps during WWII and ultimately she became one of the prosecutors in the Criminal War Crimes Trials in Tokyo, Japan. Most of the items in this scrapbook come from her time in Japan in 1947-48.
This collection is made up of a variety of materials related to the Myers Brothers Department Store which opened on the east side of the square in Springfield in 1886. Ultimately and after a fire destroyed their original building, the Myers Brothers Department Store took up its familiar location on the west side of the square, where the building still stands. Included in this collection are many photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence and many materials relating to sales promotions of various types.
The George Power Farmstead Manuscript Collection contains some of the few remaining documents-deeds, last will and testament-as well as newspaper stories written through the years about the family and the farmstead of George Power, one of the earliest settling families of Sangamon County and one the oldest documented residences remaining in the county, a place that acted as both a residence and courthouse for the county from 1829 until nearly 1850. Indeed Abraham Lincoln pled some of his earliest cases in the residence and this fact alone makes the residence worth note. This collection also contains photographs of the farmstead from the early part of the 20th century as well as draft and final copies of the nomination form used in successfully entering the property to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
This collection contains correspondence, photographs, blueprints, business records, and newspaper clippings dealing with the personal and business life of Harold W. Prehn, a prominent Springfield businessman and active citizen in the community during the mid-20th century. Prehn owned and operated a Dodge-Plymouth dealership in Springfield, his company built the first Howard Johnson's in Springfield, the Lincoln-Douglas Estates Condominiums, and the Everett Dirksen Nursing Home in addition to many other projects. In his equally prominent civic life, Prehn served as chairman of the Illinois Office of Defense Mobilization, the president of the Illinois State War Fund during WWII and later became an assistant commissioner for the Federal Housing Authority. Also included in the collection is material on the Harold Prehn Foundation Scholarship, which awarded five underprivileged students a year scholarships for college.
Springfield businessman J.R. Fitzpatrick served as trustee in Bankruptcy for Springfield's St. Nicholas Hotel from 1973-1976; although he later withdrew before bankruptcy procedures were completed. This collection of papers consists of Fitzpatrick's correspondence, working papers, audits and reports from his three years a trustee. They also included copies of many earlier items such as St. Nicholas deeds, mortgages, assets, legal agreements and employee records.
This collection consists of correspondence from company president R.C. Lanphier, information on a proposed company merger, tariff negotiations and the Springfield Refrigeration Company as well as annual reports, meter purchase contracts and company minutes from the Sangamo Electric Company. Originally founded in 1899 by Lanphier and Jacob Bunn, Jr., the Sangamo Electric Company went from producing electric meters in its early years to manufacturing transformers, computer equipment and even tape recorders in the later years. At its height it employed over 3,000 people in Springfield. Also included in the collection are numerous photographs of the Springfield plant buildings, a handwritten manuscript about the history of the company, the official company history by R.C. Lanphier and bound volumes containing ledgers for the Illinois Watch Company and other Sangamo entities as well as a box of artifacts containing Sangamo employee pins, advertising pencils, matchbooks and other memorabilia.
Material in this collection consists primarily of correspondence between officers of the local Infantile Paralysis Foundation Chapter and Basil O'Connor, president of the National Foundation. The subject of much of the correspondence is the local chapter's disagreement with the national organization over financial arrangements, a disagreement which ultimately led to revocation of the Sangamon County Chapter's charter. Also included in this collection are promotional materials from the Foundation.
Charles Leonard Skelton (1890-1957) was a Springfield author best known for the novel Riding on the Pony Express, which was reprinted for twelve editions and sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide. Skelton also spent many years in government service, working for Secretary of State William Stratton and in the office of the Governor. The majority of material in this collection consists of correspondence, literary manuscripts and photographs from Skelton and includes articles and short stories he wrote. Also included are many stamp collecting columns Skelton wrote as an avid collector over the years.
The material in this collection consists primarily of photographs of the Springfield Soap Box Derby and the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio. The photographs are primarily of the races and the contestants and cover mid-1950's period. Also included in this collection is correspondence between local and national race officials and other items including rulebooks, programs, awards lists and press releases.
The Springfield Aviation Company Collection is a collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, various periodicals and other publications dating from the years 1927 to 1955.
The Springfield Community Concert Association Collection, 1936-1989, is a collection of documents, newspaper clipping and photographs donated by former association board member Charles Keating. It includes records of board meetings; correspondence, financial audit and a nearly-complete run of Springfield Community Concert programs from 1936-1998
The Springfield Municipal Opera Collection is an integration and reorganization of documents, newspaper clippings, memoranda and financial reports from the early 1930's to the mid-1990's. The Muni's history can be traced back to 1935 when E. Carl Lundgren directed two shows on a specially built stage to mark the dedication of Lake Springfield. After WWII, Lundgren convinced city officials to establish a permanent site near Lake Springfield, where its current configuration was completed in 1964. Today the Muni continues to thrive, entertaining nearly 30 thousand fans each year. This collection also contains programs from many of the Muni productions and collections of photographs from select shows.
This collection consists of yearly programs, diaries, and newspaper clippings from the Springfield Nature League, formed in 1932 when some local citizens from various nature organizations decided to focus their nature and conservation efforts on one central club. The Nature League was an active group, with an ambitious program of monthly lectures, early morning tramps, museum tours, nature exhibitions and even an affiliation with the Illinois State Museum in establishing a series of classes which led to a certificate of Amateur Naturalist. The League also sponsored several young people's groups in the areas and provided custodianship of the Wildlife Sanctuary at Lake Springfield. Also included in this collection are membership lists from 1934-1949. By 1960, the Nature League had merged with the National Audubon Society and became the Springfield Audubon Society.
The Springfield Pleasure Driveway and Park District Board was established in 1900 after a vote of the citizenry to develop, organize and administer a park system for the City of Springfield. Among the early parks developed Washington Park was the first newly created park under the new Board, Iles Park was given to the District by Elijah Iles in 1903 and Susan Enos donated the land for Enos Park in 1905, while Lincoln Park was added to the system the same year. The materials in this collection related primarily to the first decade of the Park District's existence, and consist of the hand-written petition for organization of the District, election results for its officers, minutes of the Board, financial statements of the District and miscellaneous committee reports from committees of the Board as well as other assorted documents from that early period.
The Springfield Transportation Company came into existence in 1933 when the Illinois Power Company, which had previously operated Springfield's street car lines split into a gas and electric division and formed a separate company-The Springfield Transportation Company-to operate the lines. The first buses began operation in 1936 as the final street cars were phased out by 1938. By 1960, the Springfield Transportation Company became the city operated Springfield Mass Transit District. The materials in this collection include photographs, newspaper clippings, employee records, newsletters and information from the founding of the SMTD from the 1930's to the 1970's.
The materials in this collection consist mainly of deeds for land purchased in Ball and Woodside Townships by members of the Stout Family, most notably Philemon Stout, Jr. and his son Joab. The Stout family was one of the early pioneer families to settle in Sangamon County, with Philemon Stout Sr. and his wife Penelope arriving with their children in 1836 from Kentucky. Philemon Stout Jr. became a prominent farmer and landowner and in 1898 he held a "historic dinner" to commemorate his 62 years in the county. That dinner was attended by nearly 4,000 people and required vast amounts of food. Other materials included in this collection include a bill from grocers for that dinner as well as other family documents.
This collection is comprised largely of materials containing the published prose and poetry of Vachel Lindsay in formats such as posters, newspapers and magazine articles, booklets, pamphlets magazines and books. Other items include newspaper and magazine articles that contain biographical information on Lindsay and his family, critiques of his work and memorials on and tributes to Lindsay. A small collection features photos of Lindsay and his family and phonograph recordings of Lindsay reading his poems and his son, Nicolas Cave Lindsay reading his father's poems. Another part of the collection features two scrapbook albums put together by Fannie Hamilton, the younger sister of Lindsay's mother and bound volumes that feature some of his works.
The Vaughn DeLeath Manuscript Collection is composed primarily of photocopies of previously published sources, such as newspapers and periodicals; and other items from the Vaughn DeLeath collection of Mrs. Dorothy Barringer, including publicity items, sheet music, correspondence and unpublished manuscripts that span the life and career of Vaughn DeLeath, singer, composer and musician born at Mount Pulaski, Illinois in 1894.
This collection consists of approximately 700 photographs and various issues of advertising and promotional literature as well as a small collection of photographs of wrecked automobiles all from the years 1926-1927 from the Weaver Garage and Manufacturing Company. This company was founded by the Weaver brothers in 1910 and eventually became "…the largest factory in the world devoted to the exclusive manufacture of garage equipment." The Dura Corporation eventually purchased the company in 1959 and closed its Springfield plant in 1973, moving operations to Paris, Kentucky.
This collection consists of eight composition notebooks kept by Pearl Irene Wheeler as a student at Springfield High School, from which she graduated in June, 1913 and as a student at the Springfield Teacher's Training School which she graduated from in June 1914. These notebooks cover coursework in physiology, English history and physics as well as Industrial Education, Nature Study, Psychology, Phonics and Arithmetic and lesson plans for her practice teaching. Also included are two Springfield High yearbooks for the years 1911 and 1913, with Irene Wheeler's photo appearing on page 31 of the 1913 yearbook and her diploma from the teacher's school. She died in Clinton Iowa in 1982.
The WWII Oral History Project sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society is a collection consisting of 24 audio cassettes of 17 local individuals interviewed by Glenn Kniss regarding their experiences during the war. Topics include the bombing of Pearl Harbor, German POW camps, Black soldiers in the U.S. Army, nursing in the army and the home front in Sangamon County, Illinois.